100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish – Wildcatter Dies in Elevator Accident

On September 17, 1921, Carl Edwards, a well-like oil wildcatter who was new to the region, was working with an oil field crew in Bienville Parish.     

An oil wildcatter is an individual who drills wildcat wells, which are exploration oil wells drilled in areas not known to be oil fields.

They had reached a depth of 2,180 feet and were nearing the end of their shift when the oil derrick’s elevator, a hinged device which wraps around the pipework, was inexplicably released.  The elevator struck Edwards in the head and fractured his skull.  He died instantly.

Source: Shreveport Times, September 18, 1921, p.13.


Early in the morning between 2:00 and 3:00 on Sunday morning, September 11, 1921, people in Athens were awakened by a loud explosion.  Burglars used an “unusually heavy charge of explosive” to blow open the safe at Baker Bros. & Co. store, and the explosion was heard from a great distance.  The burglars made their getaway without being seen. 

Claiborne Parish Sheriff Coleman contacted Bienville Parish Sheriff John Currie and had him come to the scene.  In the early morning hours of August 8, 1921, burglars had blown open the safe at Ed Hart’s store in Gibsland.  Sheriff Coleman thought the two crimes could be connected.  The burglars in Gibsland also used an unusually heavy charge of explosive and fled the scene without taking the contents of the safe which amounted to about $600.00.  Sheriff Currie procured bloodhounds from Shreveport but the dogs were unable to track the burglars.  The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department arrested several people but had to release them for lack of evidence.

Based on the evidence at the scene in Athens, Sheriff Currie believed the same parties were responsible for both burglaries.  They used bloodhounds from Shreveport to try to track the burglars but were unable to locate the guilty parties.  They were unable to determine the amount of loss to Baker Bros. & Co.  No one was ever convicted of either burglary.


  1.  The Bienville Democrat, August 11, 1921, p.7.
  2.  The Bienville Democrat, September 15, 1921, p.1.

To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE